Daily Reflection
November 10th, 2006

Barbara Dilly

Department of Anthropology and Sociology
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Memorial of St. Leo the Great
Philippians 3:17—4:1
Psalm 122:1-2, 3-4ab, 4cd-5
Luke 16:1-8

As Christians, we are called to stand firm in the Lord when confronted by enemies of the cross of Christ. In reflecting on these lessons, I am drawn to the witness of the active faith of the Lancaster County Amish this last October. Even in their tears, they could accept and forgive what they could not understand. In spite of their losses, they were able to reach out to their non-Amish neighbors in Christian love. They did not judge, they did not respond in anger, and they did not question God. The world observed as they conducted themselves as models of love, forgiveness, and trust in God.

They were able to do this because they resist occupying their minds with earthly things and instead attempt to live their lives as citizens of heaven rather than as children of this world. This means that they trust that the Lord has the power to bring all things, even the horrible tragedy of the deaths of their young daughters, into subjection to himself.

What can we learn from this? Most of us shared their grief and prayed for the Amish families. And most of us also reacted with outrage that such terrible things could happen in America. But did most of us consider that the lives of those innocent Amish girls were of equal value to the lives of innocent Iraqi children who also died in October? Many of us also share the grief and pray for Iraqi families. And many of us are reacting with outrage that war happens anywhere in the world. But many of us are still too willing to accept that war is a necessary part of living in this world. We occupy our minds with earthly rationales that justify war and our participation in it. Today I pray that we can stand firm in the Lord when discerning how we should conduct ourselves in the face of violence.

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